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Which European cities can you reach by direct trains from Switzerland?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Which European cities can you reach by direct trains from Switzerland?
Nearly all major Swiss cities have a direct train link to Paris. Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Given higher costs — not to mention hassles — of air travel, many people see trains as a better alternative for getting from point A to point B. What direct international connections are there from Swiss cities?


Switzerland has the advantage of being located right in the middle of Europe — even though it is difficult to find it on the map without a magnifying glass.

This, and the country’s dense and well organised railway network, means that it is fairly easy — and often scenic as well — to take a direct train (that is, without having to change en route), from Switzerland to one of its neighbouring countries.

Let’s start with Switzerland’s largest city and railway hub — Zurich.

From there, you can travel to German cities of Mannheim in 3 hours, to Stuttgart and Münich (3.5 hours), Frankfurt (4.5 hours), and Hamburg (7.5 hours).

You can also go to Austria: Innsbruck is just 3.5 hours away, Salzburg 5.5 hours, and Vienna less than 10 hours.

France is also reachable by direct trains: Dijon is 2.5 hours away, while it takes about 4 hours to get to Paris.

And there are a number of Italian cities as well.

It takes 3.5 hours to get to Milan, Verona is 5 hours away, Genoa (5.5 hours), and Venice and Bologna, 6 hours.

You can get from Zurich to Frankfurt in under 5 hours. Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay



Just as from Zurich, you can travel from Basel to Mannhein, Stuttgart and Frankfurt (2 and 3 hours, respectively), to Köln (4 hours), Berlin (7.5 hours), as well as to the nearby German city of Freiburg (40 minutes).

READ MORE: Basel vs Freiburg: Which city is better to live in? 

You can reach Dijon in merely 1.5 hours and Paris in 3 hours.

And you can reach Milan in 4 hours.


Due to its proximity to France, there are a number of direct connections between Geneva and French cities.

For instance, you can get to Lyon in 2 hours, to Paris in 3, and to Marseille in 3.5.

There are also direct trains from Geneva to Milan (4 hours), Verona (6 hours), and Venice (7 hours).


From the Vaud’s capital, there are direct links to Dijon (2 hours) and Paris (4 hours).

You can also travel to Milan in under 4 hours.

TGV Lyria connects Geneva and Lausanne with (here ) Paris' Gare de Lyon station. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP


As the Ticino city is a gateway to Italy, it offers several direct connections to that country.

Milan can be reacher in just over an hour, Verona in less than 3 hours, Genoa in 3.5 hours, Bologna in 4 hours, and Venice in 4.5

You can see all the direct international trains from Swiss cities here.


But wait, there (could be) more

Though this particular link is not a reality at this point, it could be in the future.

A direct Eurostar train from Basel, which arrives at London-St Pancras International station in just 5.5 hours.

That's a proposal that MP Matthias Aebischer has recently put forward in the parliament: to connect Basel and Basel and London via a direct rail route.

He is urging the Swiss government to liaise with both Britain and France to figure out how a direct daily train link between the two cities could be launched — in other words, how to put it on the right track.

READ MORE: Switzerland mulls new direct Basel – London Eurostar connection


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Anonymous 2023/04/06 18:52
I should add one thing. There is a direct (no change) train once daily from Lugano to Venice (and return), which bypasses Milan Centrale. And, from Milan itself you can choose to take the Frecciarossa high-speed train to many cities in Italy, including Bologna, Turin, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, and Salerno. Frecciarossa offers speeds up to 300 km/hour and several levels of premium seating and services, including meals at your seat. (note: I'm a customer, not a representative) :-)
Anonymous 2023/04/06 18:37
Dear helena.bachmann, THANKS so much for your rapid and very positive response and for updating the article!!!! And, I just read the Ticino article now. I know my comment showed a lot of frustration (as the next to smallest linguistic community in Switzerland we are reminded daily in a variety of ways that we are a distinct minority); but you saved the day in the best way possible. Kudos to you!
Robert Pallone 2023/04/05 18:08
I hope this is constructive: YET AGAIN you ignore Italian Switzerland. Could you tell me why I should renew my subscription? It's article after article. We are simply left out of the equation. Not Swiss enough I suppose. It's truly aggravating.
  • Anonymous 2023/04/06 17:54
    Thank you for your comment, bobpallone, and for reading The Local. We have added train connections from Lugano to this article. Also, please check the new one we published today, Why is Ticino Switzerland’s favourite Easter destination? Regards, Helena Bachmann, The Local.

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